Paving Memory Lane

By Tawny Maya McCray

January 9, 2020 5 min read

There are many fun activities couples can do on their wedding day to prepare for their first anniversary.

One time-honored tradition -- dating back to the 19th century -- is for married couples to freeze the top layer of their wedding cake to eat on their first anniversary for good luck.

"My mother-in-law saved the top layer of our wedding cake and froze it for one year," said Sherry Engberg, who married her husband Bob in 1965. "We did bring it out to celebrate."

Kaleigh Wiese, said she and her husband chose to honor that tradition as well. "Taste is a huge memory retriever, and reliving that shared moment can be really sentimental," Wiese said. "I think it's a fun tradition, but don't expect it to taste good."

Wiese, who is the founder of Meldeen, a company that develops luxury brands for weddings and wedding-related stationery, said as an alternative, couples can order a mini cake from their cake baker on their anniversary.

"It'll be both fresh and nostalgic," she said.

Wiese said another sweet idea is for a couple to write personal letters to each other on their wedding day and read them on their first anniversary. Or, wedding guests can record messages for the bride and groom for them to play back on their anniversary.

"Have your videographer video some of your guests talking about how they met you and the most surprising thing about your relationship," Wiese said. "It's fun to relive one year later."

Instead of a traditional guest book, some couples have started having guests write notes, or "messages in a bottle," for them to open and read on their anniversaries.

Heather Ferrari, a married mom of two, said she went to a wedding where guests wrote special notes for the couple to open from their first anniversary all the way up to their 50th.

"Each table had cards filled with advice, and they were only to open them on their wedding anniversary," Ferrari said. "I think the concept is romantic."

Ferrari added that something like that could also be a fun thing for guests to do at a bridal shower.

The website Offbeat Bride gives examples of how couples can present the idea of messages in a bottle to their guests.

"Like wine, love only gets better with age. Instead of a guest book, leave us a message in a bottle and help us to celebrate years in the future," one couple wrote in a framed note on a table with three bottles. "So write it, roll it, and pick the anniversary year that you want us to read. Choose one date, or do all three!"

Another couple wrote in a framed message, "Leave your advice, wishes and memories for the new Mr. and Mrs. to open on their anniversary year." Next to the sign were five bottles, representing the couple's first, second, fifth, 10th and 15th anniversaries.

Other fun wedding activities, according to the website The One Event, include guests writing warm wishes to the couple on the back of puzzle pieces, a game that the couple can break out each anniversary to remember their special day, or having friends and family write "love notes" to the couple.

"Have guests write littles reasons why they love you, your spouse or you two as a couple, and open each one on your yearly anniversary!" the site suggests. "Or, you can have guests write down their best marriage advice."

The website The Spruce suggests that on a first wedding anniversary, the couple make prints from digital pictures taken at the wedding and make a romantic photo book.

"Since this anniversary is so close to the actual wedding, perhaps now is a good opportunity to finalize all your wedding photos," the site says. "On the first anniversary, it's a nice time to celebrate and remember the wedding itself along with your budding relationship."

Angelina Franco, a graphic designer, said she once went to a wedding where the couple had guests take Polaroids and put them in a locked box to open on their first anniversary.

"It was really cute," Franco said. "Everyone had a blast taking the pictures, too. I'm sure it was fun to open on their anniversary."

It's important to live in the moment and enjoy your special day. But with some easy preparation, you can have treasures to cherish for years to come.

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